Friday, September 16, 2011

In Conversation with God in the Garden

Yesterday, as I was picking Cowpeas in the garden, I was struck by the immense realization of how I have been blessed to be doing what I am doing. Picking Cowpeas is a rather thoughtless labor that takes quite a long time. Since the motion is repetitive, this allows for freedom of the mind to think as it pleases without much focus on the task at hand. As I walked through that tangled patch pulling the long pods from the vines I was give a great vision of what God wants for humanity. It was a vision of a simple life far from the city lights and temptations. Yet, this stream of thougts and inspirations came in the form of apocalyptic poetry flowing through my mind verse after verse. I could see how the cities would fall and God would place His people back on the land. The thoughts were terrible, yet magnificent. I never could have had this stream of thoughts had I not been blessed to be a farmer. I have great freedom to pray and think in many of the tasks I have been given to do. How often my mind can think of the higher things that are yet to come as I do the simple manual labor so often required in farming. This country life is a true blessing for the family, and I realize it more and more as we make trips into the city. How often I see and feel the temptation to become more worldly when in the city limits. How easy it is for us to nix the plans for supper at home and to just stop at a fast food place to pick up something easy. I have argued in the past that the city is a proximate occasion of sin simply because it puts you in proximity to so many evils that are so easily accessible and often cleverly disguised. Pope Pius XII called the farm, "the ideal nursery for family life." The ancient distinction between rural and urban civilzation needs again to be recalled to the Christian mind. Rural life simply promotes religiosity. Some however argue that Christianity spread most quickly in the cities, and that it took many centuries to make inroads into the country. The word pagan actually comes from the latin "paganus," which means country-dweller. The country dwellers with their dependence on God or gods in this case were slow to change their customs. Those who live in close contact with nature realize their helplessness against it and their need for divine intervention. The pagans were often farmers and had developed many cults to pray for their many needs. Thus when Christianity came they were slower to accept this new faith. The city-dwellers typically have much less of a realization of their need for divine assistance. They are disconnected with the chain of life that holds them in being. Today their food comes from a package. All that went into that package is far disconnected from their daily lives. Much of what they do is done in isolation from other parts of their life. This disconnectedness leads to  a realization of  a need for some order and greater power. Thus Christianity spread through the cities like wildfire, but the pagans who already realized their need for divine assistance had to be converted in masse over long periods of time. Yet, this was accomplished and it was then those pagans who became Christian peasants and monks that passed on the faith age to age as cities came and went. Thus it will be in our times too. When all the dollars have been used to start fires to warm homes, and all the securities and pleasantries of this modern life have collapsed. It will again be the monasteries and the peasant farmers who pass the faith on as the hoardes flee the cities. How blessed I am to be a peasant farmer.


In the silence of the morning
In my home upon the land
I rise to pray, the world scorning
Given all from God's good hand

For I know the day is coming
Swifter than the rising sun
Melting sin and sadness numbing
On the clouds the Holy One
Prepare the way. Prepare the Way.
I hear the call within my heart
If you would not fear the day
When the heavens and earth depart
He is coming as the lightning
He is riding on the wind
No sight has ever been more fright'ning
When in glory He'll descend
But for those who've long awaited
The dawn of everlasting day
Joy and rapture unabated
This day will bring them no dismay
Now I beg you heed this calling
For the day is close at hand
When the stars from heaven falling
with fire and water cleanse the land
by: Kevin Ford

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